Difference Between WINS and DNS

Imagining a world without the internet would be a challenging task today. It has become the backbone of our daily tasks. We all access different websites and web pages every single day. All devices connected to the internet have distinct IP addresses. 


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IP addresses are very important to take care of when discussing cybersecurity.

They help in host identification, network identification and location addressing. WINS (Windows Internet Service) and DNS (Domain Name System) are two services that help keep track of the internet profiles of the host and your device.

Key Takeaways

  1. Wins refer to the number of races or events a participant has won, while DNS stands for “Did Not Start” and refers to the number of events a participant did not start.
  2. Wins are a measure of success and performance, while DNS is an indicator of missed opportunities.
  3. Wins contribute to a participant’s overall ranking and earn them prizes or recognition, while DNS can negatively impact their ranking and reputation.


WINS and DNS differ because WINS is platform-dependent while DNS is not. This means that WINS only works on devices with the Windows platform installed, but DNS can work on any platform like Windows, Linux, Unix, etc. Windows Internet Service is the precursor of Domain Name Server, meaning it is less developed than its counterpart.


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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonWINSDNS
Platform DependencyWINS is dependent on its platform.DNS is platform-independent.
IP Address SupportWINS supports dynamic IP addresses.DNS supports static IP addresses.
TranslationIt translates NetBIOS names to IP addresses.It translates host names to IP addresses.
Data ReproductionWINS can reproduce any data for modification.DNS cannot reproduce data but copies the entire database.
Application SupportIt does not support TCP/IP application services.It supports all TCP/IP application services.

What is WINS?

WINS stands for Windows Internet Service. It is Microsoft’s implementation of NetBIOS Name Service. It works as a name server that maps the hostname to network addresses from all over the internet. It has two components; a server service and a TCP/IP client component. 

In other cases, a WINS proxy is used, in which a client acts on behalf of computers that have not been enabled with WINS.

This allows people who do not have WINS devices to use the program too. On the downside, the WINS system poses a security risk which cannot be found in the DNS system.

The TCP/IP client component is used for managing the client’s registration of a device to a server, along with the renewal of names and other queries.

Windows Internet Service was invented before DNS but has not been discontinued by Microsoft. Older models of laptops and computers often use WINS instead of DNS. It can be seen in Windows NMS and Windows 2000 servers.

Windows Internet Service is mainly made for devices with Windows-like laptops, PCs, etc. It registers devices with names up to 15 characters. WINS can only work in Windows and not on other platforms like Linux, Unix, Cisco, etc. It helps in keeping track of changing IP addresses.


What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is the name given to devices connected to the internet or a private network. It works similarly to WINS but is more refined in its functioning. DNS is used to link a variety of information with the domain names. 

DNS was made in 1985 by modifying WINS. In addition to providing information, it is responsible for checking the technical functionality of the database service.

Domain Name Server is very useful in storing various kinds of records like IP addresses, SMPT mail, name servers, fighting off spam mail and storing a real-time blackhole list. It can be considered the phone book of the internet.

DNS is more secure than WINS, but that does not mean it has no flaws. Sometimes DNS data can leak from private servers. Doing so can be used to get past firewalls and gather private information or data.

DNS is mainly designed for servers and other network devices. It registers names up to 253 characters. Domain Name Server can work on various platforms like Linux, Windows, Cisco, Unix, etc. It can only keep track of static IP addresses that do not change from hour to hour.


Main Differences Between WINS and DNS

  1. DNS is independent and does not need any platform, but it is not the same case with WINS.
  2. WINS supports dynamic IP addresses, while DNS supports static ones.
  3. DNS can translate host names, but WINS cannot. WINS, on the other hand, translates NetBIOS names.
  4. WINS does not copy the data like DNS to form a database but reproduces it for modification.
  5. The Domain Name Server supports TCP/IP application services, unlike Windows Internet Network Service.
  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/glj88&section=46
  2. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/978-1-4302-0185-4_2.pdf
  3. http://www.hjp.at/doc/rfc/rfc1591.html 
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